Posts Tagged ‘Kristina Baskett’

NCAA report

January 10, 2009

A few highlights:

Surprise, surprise, Georgia held off West Virginia, 195.425-194.075. Courtney Kupets was back to her old tricks, winning the all-around with a 39.45.

Alabama barely held off the surging Auburn Tigers, 195.675-195.650. (Auburn’s A.J. Mills won the all-around.)

Florida defeated Oklahoma 196.500-195.075 (UF’s Melanie Sinclair took the all-around title.)

LSU overcame a couple “slow” rotations to beat Iowa and Southeast Missouri State, 194.175-191.675-191.375. (LSU’s Susan Jackson won the all-around and had a 9.95 on vault.)

Utah barely held off UCLA, 196.175-196.075 after Ute seniors Kristina Baskett and Nina Kim fell on floor exercise. Junior Beth Rizzo also badly sprained an ankle on the event. Rizzo, who put in a solid two years for the Utes as a walk-on (she was denied a scholarship last year so Canadian Gael Mackie could join the team last year) has finally attained a scholarship.

UCLA was carried by its freshman; the Deseret News reports that 16 of its 24 routines were performed by frosh gymnasts, and only two were performed by upperclassmen.

The Bruins have also permanently lost senior Kristina Comforte, who retired after suffering a torn labrum in her shoulder. Also, Utah’s Stephanie Neff, a senior, has given up gymnastics due to back problems.

Utah’s Jamie Deetscreek, in her first meet as an all-arounder, won with a 39.1 to Baskett’s 39.05.

Should the NCAA adopt the new code of points?

April 28, 2008

Utah's Kristina BaskettA little less than four years ago, the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) eliminated 10 as the ideal score.

In its place, they  instituted a system where gymnasts received points partially for the difficulty of their skills and partially for the way routines were executed.

Should NCAA women’s gymnastics do the same thing?

Some like the new system, which is changing in 2009 to make things easier for the athletes for the first time in several quadrenniums. Others hate it. Even so, the FIG has made it clear that we aren’t going back to the ideal 10 anytime soon.

The NCAA has been the last holdout of the old system, the place where elites go to get an education and, if they’re good enough, the perfect score that’s eluded them their entire elite careers.

The thing that struck me about this year’s NCAA Championships, won this weekend by the Georgia Gym Dogs for the fourth year in a row, was how darn close all the scores were. How many 9.875s were recorded? How many 9.9s? How many gymnasts can you pack the third place rung on the victory podium with? (Answer: Four. Tiffany Tolnay (UGA), Katie Heenan (UGA), Kristina Baskett (Utah) and Melanie Sinclair (Florida) tied for third in the all-around.)

At the Pac-10 Championships March 29, no fewer than nine people tied for third on vault. Five recorded a third-place score of 9.9 on uneven bars.

Some call for more difficulty in the NCAA, especially on vault, where it seems that almost every gymnast is throwing a Yurchenko full. Happily, on balance beam and floor exercise there’s a lot more variety — not to mention personality — than there is in the elite ranks. I’d fear that bumping up the difficulty needed to get great scores could result in more injuries, costing universities more money and making administrators think about cutting gymnastics programs.

At the same time, it can look a bit ridiculous when everybody gets a 9.875. After the NCAA all-around competition, reader TCO buzzed in with a comment:

The scores are crazy close. We need a different system. I don’t mind if we keep the 10 or get rid of it. But if we keep it, we ought to significantly increase the difficulty requirment. The problem is that people look at a ten like “par” on the golf course. We need to compensate the gymnasts that throw harder tricks. This will also spread the scores.

Men’s collegiate gymnastics follows the same structure as the new code of points. But for many, men’s collegiate gymnastics is an elite training ground, not a place to graze in retirement from heavy competition.

What do you think?

The oh-so-close NCAA all-around

April 25, 2008

Tasha Schwikert1. Tasha Schwikert 39.600

2. Ashley Postell 39.550

3. Katie Heenan 39.525

3. Tiffany Tolnay 39.525

3. Kristina Baskett 39.525

3. Melanie Sinclair 39.525

Congratulations to Schwikert, who earns her second NCAA all-around title (she was the 2005 champion as well.) For Postell, this has to be a disappointment. In four years at Utah, she’s been third, second, second and second again.

In the team competition, the Utes will likely record the same history.

Georgia had a 197.625 in the evening session. This title is theirs to lose. Unofficially, Utah and Stanford also advance to tomorrow’s Super Six.

Utah, Arkansas to NCAAs

April 13, 2008

Ashley PostellAs expected, no. 2 Utah won the North Central Regional at Minnesota (196.95). That’s a score that head coach Greg Marsden likely isn’t going to be too pleased with, especially given that Georgia advances with a 197.775.

As Georgia did, Utah swept the Regional. NCAA all-around favorite Ashley Postell won the overall title with a solid 39.6, as well as bars, beam and floor. Teammate Kristina Baskett, who has the best Yurchenko 1.5 in the NCAA, won vault.

Arkansas, a distant second with 196.125, ought to be proud of qualifying a team to the NCAA Championships, given that they’re still a very new program (six years old, I believe.)


Utah’s April Fools article

April 1, 2008

The April Fool’s edition is a tradition at many college newspapers. On April 1, student journalists fill a real version of their newspaper with fake news. It’s a great opportunity to be creative in places where “news” stories are often less than fascinating.

The Daily Utah Chronicle has run an April Fool’s piece today on the Utah women’s gymnastics team, highlighting Sarah Shire’s departure from the team last season.


The next Postell?

March 18, 2008

Utah freshman Kyndal Robarts.The excellent media coverage surrounding the University of Utah’s women’s gymnastics team is focusing on a new darling: after Ashley Postell completes her senior season this year, reporters and Utah coach Greg Marsden are predicting freshman Kyndal Robarts will take over.

Of Robarts, Marsden told the Desert Morning News, “She is our future.”

That’s not to say there aren’t a bevy of other supertalented gymnasts on Utah’s squad, including juniors Kristina Baskett and Nina Kim, and sophomores Annie DiLuzio and German Olympic hopeful Daria Bijak.

But Robarts, a San Marcos, Texas native, seems to fit into college gymnastics in the same way as many who weren’t that successful as elites, like UCLA’s Anna Li, Oklahoma’s Kiara Redmond-Sturms and LSU’s Ashleigh Clare-Kearney.

Robarts, Utah’s only freshman to have competed in the all-around this season, is pretty cool under pressure, too — her day against Minnesota contained a mishap on beam, and she makes a great and highly amusing cover-up.

A real crowd-pleasing moment, that, and perhaps one of the many still to come if she can stay healthy.

Church, Mackie and Utah floor choreography

February 20, 2008

Gael MackieA couple weeks ago I blogged that neither Gael Mackie nor Shavahn Church had yet competed for their respective schools, Utah and UCLA. Both were feted as huge newcomers.

And they will be…maybe next season.

Church has a knee injury, but still managed to show off her great lines with an uneven bars exhibition when UCLA romped Cal 195.225 to 189.425 Sunday. (Thanks to reader Alisa for the link.)

Shavahn Church, 2008 UCLA vs. Cal, Uneven Bars:

Mackie finally competed on uneven bars when Utah came to Washington last Friday, earning a 9.775. Good friend Jaz was at the meet in Bank of America Arena on the University of Washington campus. She was impressed with the overall quality of Utah’s gymnastics, but found their floor choreography a bit lacking.

Hard to believe, given the sensational splashy routines Kristina Baskett competed in 2006 and 2007.

Kristina Baskett,  2006 NCAA Championships, Floor Exercise:

Kristina Baskett, 2007 NCAA Championships, Floor Exercise:

Rick at Gymnastics Coaching apparently felt the same way — at least about Utah’s acrobatics, when he attended the Utah-Arizona State meet a few weeks ago.

My only criticism of the Utes last night was their tumbling. Aside from [Ashley] Postell’s drop-from-the-sky triple twist, It’s not strong. The routines are clean and safe. But to me the Arizona girls were more dynamic and exciting tumblers.

Depth, Georgia and the Red Rocks

January 18, 2008

Let the NCAA mudslinging begin.

From the Daily Utah Chronicle:

Following the Utah gymnastics team’s narrow win over No. 1 Georgia last week, Gym Dog head coach Suzanne Yoculan questioned whether the Red Rocks have the depth to be one of the best teams in the nation.

“I thought that their depth was a little weaker than ours,” Yoculan said. “Obviously Ashley (Postell) and some of the strongest girls looked really strong. The thing is, there’s a lot of teams in the country that have a one-two punch. It’s going to come down to that fourth or fifth score at the end of the season.”

Utah junior Kristina Baskett is likely to sit out tonight's competition against NebraskaThat’s interesting coming from Yoculan, whose Gym Dogs currently aren’t at full strength either. And while the Utes take on rival Nebraska tonight without star Kristina Baskett, who has is suffering from displaced ribs, Georgia has traveled to Florida and will take on the newly No. 1-ranked Gators. Florida posted the highest score of the season so far with its 197.125 last week against Illinois-Chicago.

Yoculan has said she expects Grace Taylor, recovered from her sprained ankle, to be back in the lineup, but others are still injured. Georgia might have taken a little hit to its depth as well.

Florida sophomore Melanie SinclairAnd if Utah had no mercy at home, Florida likely won’t either. The Gators, despite being no. 1 right now, are the least appreciated gymnastics team in the nation. Their top three — sophomores Melanie Sinclair and Amanda Castillo (who was third in the all-around at the 2007 NCAA championships behind better-known names Courtney Kupets and Postell) and junior Corey Hartung are an unstoppable force when they hit.

Georgia opens 2008 campaign with loss to Utah

January 13, 2008

The top-ranked Georgia Gym Dogs lost their season-opener to third-ranked Utah at the University of Utah Friday night.

Georgia's Grace TaylorBut not by much. The final score was 196.3-196.2, Utah was at home, and Georgia was mostly without sophomore Grace Taylor, who competed uneven bars only, and senior Megan Dowlen. It’s likely that those two, particularly Taylor, would have made the difference in the meet.

Utah senior Ashley Postell, who clinched Utah’s win during her floor exercise in the final rotation (9.9), won the all-around, balance beam and floor. Ute standout Kristina Baskett was second and Georgia junior Tiffany Tolnay third, leaving Olympic silver and bronze medalist Courtney Kupets fourth.